Colin – “If you’ve got someone to walk with you side by side – you’re able to go anywhere then.”

Image shows group of people standing against a wall holding up certificates

Colin third from right back row, and the Pathways clients he works with.

Colin Nelson is a familiar and much loved face around Breakthrough staff and clients.

Colin began volunteering a year ago, providing a guiding hand and encouragement to clients participating in Breakthrough’s different services.

After experiencing a difficult period in his life, Colin found out about Breakthrough via the Jobcentre and met with staff Rhonda and Chris.

After accessing the Peer Group as client, Colin gradually built up the confidence to take part in more activities.

He said: “At the worst, I didn’t leave my house for three months. My mum had to bring me what I needed. But being at Breakthrough solved that for me.

“I started to interact with other people in the peer group, I realised we could bring each other out of whatever hole we were in.”

With encouragement from Rhonda and Chris, Colin began to facilitate the group. He added: “Six weeks in, and I was helping the group more than they were helping me!”

Colin then went on to providing support on Breakthrough’s Independent Living and Pre-employability Pathways courses.

He said: “I give encouragement and give examples of my own life and experience.

“I try and show people how independent they are and what we control we do have.”

Colin has now progressed onto providing admin support within Breakthrough’s office, including processing expenses and answering the phone.

“It’s helped me socially; I now no longer only go out at night shopping to avoid social interaction. I can use the train and tram now and I don’t fear having to speak to strangers.

“I can’t emphasise how much Breakthrough have helped me. I’m completely different now, I wanted to give back.”